Of all of the qualities that contribute to a healthy, happy marriage, love is first and foremost on nearly every person’s list. This speaks volumes about the power of love and what it can do to help maintain a relationship. It’s what turns a good partnership into a great one, it’s what turns lovers into best friends.
The importance of love in marriage is nearly endless. After all, marriage is not always an easy arrangement and without love, you would never be able to have the drive, attention, selflessness, and patience it takes to make your relationship a lasting success.
1. Love brings happiness
Love promotes happiness. Say what you will about being free and independent, there is simply nothing like the comfort and security of knowing that you are cared for.
When you are in love your body releases dopamine, a chemical that is released in the “Reward Center” of the brain. It’s no surprise then that dopamine makes you feel appreciated, happy, rewarded, and fosters positive emotions.
Love also promotes the spike in the hormone cortisol. While this is normally associated with being a “Stress Hormone”, in the case of falling in love, cortisol doesn’t make you feel anxious but is responsible for those butterflies in your stomach, excitement, and overwhelming passion you get when you are in the throes of new love.
Some studies even suggest that as you grow out of puppy love and into mature love, your dopamine levels may remain elevated.
2. Sex strengthens your immune system
Regular sexual activity with your loving partner can benefit your immune system. Married couples have lower rates of depression, substance abuse, and lower blood pressure than their unmarried counterparts. Heart disease is also more common for those who live alone than for those who are married.
3. Increased financial security
Two are better than one, especially in the case of your bank account! Married partners are more likely to experience financial security and accumulate more wealth over time than those who are single or divorced.
Having two incomes gives couples financial stability, which can lower stress, reduce debt, and allow flexibility in the marriage in case one partner can only work part-time or wishes to stay home to care for children or other responsibilities.
4. Love breeds respect
Respect is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Without respect, love and trust cannot grow. When you feel respected, you know that your words, thoughts, and feelings are valued. You are able to trust freely when respect is shown.
The importance of respect and love in marriage also has to do with emotional support. When you have a partner, who values your opinions and treats you well, you are more capable of being vulnerable and confiding in them. Emotional support has a positive effect on mental health and overall relationship and self-happiness.
5. You sleep better with the one you love
Another aspect of the importance of love in marriage? Blanket-hogs and snore-hounds aside, you will sleep better when you are spooning with the love of your life. Studies show that couples who slept next to one another had lower levels of cortisol, slept more soundly, and fell asleep quicker than those who sleep alone.
6. Sex reduces stress
The importance of love in marriage can also benefit your mental health. Studies suggest that loneliness can have a damaging effect on your health and can even activate pain centers in your brain. This causes anxiety levels to spike.
Love and sex are amazing at warding off stress and anxiety. This is done in part by the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin. This ‘love drug’ is responsible for the attachment felt after touching someone you love, whether it’s something as intimate as having sex or as sweet as holding hands.
Oxytocin also lowers stress levels and balances your neurochemicals, causing anxiety and stress to melt away.
7. Love makes you live longer
Couples grow old more gracefully than singles, or so says one University of Missouri study. The research, done by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, found that, regardless of age, those in happy marriages rated their health as higher than their unmarried counterparts.
Another benefit to being happily married? Not only are you statistically more likely to live longer than unhappy singles, but being single, as revealed in this study, was the biggest predictor of premature mortality.
Married couple’s long lifespans are thought to be influenced by the emotional, social, and financial support received from being part of a ‘couple’. For example, married spouses are also more likely to have access to medical care.
One Harvard study revealed that married men live longer than men who are divorced or who have never been married. This is thought to be because married men tone down their lifestyle (such as drinking, fighting, and taking unnecessary risks) once they are in a committed relationship.
8. Sex connects you
A healthy sexual connection is part of love in marriage not only because it feels great to be close to your partner in this way, but because it chemically bonds you together.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘love drug’, Oxytocin is a hormone that is responsible for bonding that is released when you are touching your partner that naturally enhances love, self-esteem, feelings of trust, and optimism.
The importance of love in marriage is endless. It brings with it health benefits, a closer bond, an improved sex life, and reduces that daily stress and anxieties of life. Without love, you and your partner could not be able to enjoy a happy, healthy relationship.